BEIRUT: The defense counsel for the accused Hussein Oneissi closed her case Thursday at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon by submitting evidence seeking to implicate a Palestinian in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Defense Counsel Natalie Von Wistinghausen’s target, Ahmad Abu Adass, was at the center of early investigations, having been shown apparently making a confession in a videotape recovered shortly after the 2005 assassination of Hariri in a bomb blast that also killed 21 others.
The prosecution team has since argued that Abu Adass was forced into making the confession by those currently indicted. His DNA did not match that found in the vehicle that was used in the assassination.
Von Wistinghausen submitted various documents into evidence that, she argued, demonstrated Abu Adass’ susceptibility to the ideologies of extremist groups.
She said the various tape recordings and that examples of extremist literature she submitted showed that Abu Adass’ “claim of responsibility for the attack was in compliance with the ideology he was advocating.”
Among the four defense teams, Oneissi’s was the only one to present a case. Such a move is not out of the ordinary given that the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, and the defense teams may choose to make their arguments in the final briefs. These briefs were requested from the teams representing the prosecution and the interests of the victims by July 16, with responses from the defense by Aug. 13.
President of the Trial Chamber Judge David Re said he did not anticipate any further STL hearings until August or September of this year.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 29, 2018, on page 3.